The Pumas will play Spain in Madrid two weeks before facing England in Marseille

Argentina to play Spain in final World Cup warm-up before England opener

England’s opening 2023 World Cup opponents Argentina will finalise their preparations by facing Spain in Madrid two weeks before the two sides clash in Marseille.

The Pumas beat England 30-29 at Twickenham in last year’s Autumn Nations Series, which proved to be the final campaign of Eddie Jones’s time in charge, and the two sides will kick off their World Cups against one another at the Stade Velodrome on 9 September.

Michael Cheika’s side will be in the Spanish capital on August 26 for a clash against Los Leones, who were disqualified from the tournament after fielding South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg in qualifying, who was later deemed to be an ineligible player.

Related: Spain disqualified from Rugby World Cup 2023

The match is taking place as part of Spanish rugby’s centenary celebrations and will be played at the Civitas Metropolitano, the home of football side Atletico Madrid which has a capacity of over 68,000.

This fixture marks the second instalment of ‘The Match’ after Spain lost to an All Blacks XV at the same venue in front of 40,000 spectators in May 2022.

Argentina currently sit eighth in the world rankings but, after winning away in New Zealand and England last year, are many people’s dark horses to go deep in the World Cup in France later this year.

Spain qualify for Rugby World Cup

Argentina are to play a Spain side that initially celebrated their qualification for the World Cup with a pitch invasion after victory over Portugal in March 2022 before being removed from the tournament (Alan Dymock)

The Spanish Rugby Federation believe the deal will help strengthen the bond between the rugby nations, with president Juan Carlos Martín ‘Hansen’ saying: “We are convinced that the Civitas Metropolitano will have great success and will lay the foundations to put Los Leones and Spain in the first line of international rugby.”

Read more: Rugby World Cup fixtures 2023

The Argentine Rugby Union president Gabriel Travaglini added: “It is a real pleasure to be able to play a test-match again with the Spanish national team and also participate in the centenary celebration of the Spanish Federation.

“Since that match in Madrid in 1982, in which the two teams played evenly, an excellent relationship began between the two nations, and many Argentine players have even gone to Spain to continue playing rugby. This year we will meet again with Los Leones in a friendly that has transcendent value, because it will help us improve our performance before competing in the World Cup in France.”

Argentina will also face South Africa in a friendly warm-up match in Buenos Aires on 5 August, a fixture that falls outside of the streamlined 2023 Rugby Championship.

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